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  • VAUGHT: Gran decision to go with Bowden pays off big for Kentucky

    By LARRY VAUGHT

    All Kentucky has done is win and go to bowl games since offensive coordinator Eddie Gran arrived. Yet how often has Gran been the brunt of intense criticism from Kentucky fans for his lack of creativity with his play calling.

    However, former UK quarterback Dusty Bonner has called him a "genius" for how he reshaped UK's offense this year due to quarterback injuries. Former UK running back Anthony White says he still can't believe the way Gran has come up with different schemes to confuses defenses even when they know the Cats are going to run and run and run ... and never pass.

    The last three games, UK has rushed for over 400 yards -- something it had never done before. Against Louisville, the Cats gained 564 yards Saturday and ran for six touchdowns behind a brilliant performance by receiver turned quarterback Lynn Bowden.

    Kentucky is now 7-5 and headed to a nice bowl destination. Maybe Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl. Maybe Nashville for the Music City Bowl. Maybe Charlotte for the Belk Bowl.

    But for a team that was 2-3 and had its top three quarterbacks on the depth chart hurt before Gran made the bold decision to turn the offense over to Bowden, UK's best receiver, it has been a remarkable finish and coach Mark Stoops gave a lot of the credit to Gran after Saturday's win.

    "You really can't say enough about him. Again, I understand people, they always want to -- again, OCs have the biggest target on them. They are an easy target," Stoops said. "Offensive coordinators, everywhere, everywhere, are easy targets.

    "When a run doesn't work, he should have passed. When he passed, he should have run, right. It's just too easy."

    Or it is after you see if a play does or does not work. Gran's players swear by him. They don't second-guess him. When he went all-in on Bowden at quarterback, so did the entire offense and suddenly a one-dimensional offense got really hard for anybody to stop. In seven games, Bowden himself went over 1,000 yards and explosive plays just kept coming.

    "What he's done, you know, an enormous amount of stress and pressure on him and all of us," Stoops said.

    The UK coach said remembered when Gran and quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw decided to go full-time with Bowden at quarterback and build a package for him. Stoops and his coaches met several times going over options before Gran opted for Bowden.

    "I'm going to say this: He really made the right decision. He did not back off with Lynn. When he made that decision, he moved forward," Stoops said. "He really helped me because I come back Monday morning, are you sure about this, and what do you want to do.

    "He kept on coming back to it and was very strong on his conviction and so was Darin Hinshaw and the staff, and as you can see, Lynn gives you so many options. There's a lot of creative things you can do. You know, it gave us the best opportunity to win."
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Terry Blue's Avatar
      Terry Blue -
      Marrow says no slam dunk Bowden leaves
    1. ETWNAPPEL's Avatar
      ETWNAPPEL -
      Offensive coordinator is the most and easiest position to criticize in football. No OC always makes the right call. Since Gran got here our fortunes have improved and our offensive play calling has improved. What he has done this season has been praised throughout the country by all but some UK fans. No less than Georgia tried to hire him away last summer. To not recognize the great job he has done is illogical.
    1. dan_bgblue's Avatar
      dan_bgblue -
      Quote Originally Posted by Terry Blue View Post
      Marrow says no slam dunk Bowden leaves
      If he wants to be drafted as a receiver in the league, he needs to return and showcase that talent. He will be pigeon holed as a small back with great elusiveness and good burst of speed but not enough top end to play every down. They will want him for an athlete, kick returner, and utility man in kick coverage.

      Whatever he decides to do he has my full verbal support, but I truly think he needs to return and have the team showcase him at wideout. jmho
    1. bigsky's Avatar
      bigsky -
      interesting article that highlights the biggest decision of this current year for UK. The offensive coordinator of the year. As for Lynn Bowden, he has writ large in the Kentucky pantheon. Not sure what else he can do in a rough college sport full of injuries that surpasses this year. He needs to get the check. The NFL is full of stories of guts and dedication beating talent.
    1. catmanjack's Avatar
      catmanjack -
      He is gone, and should go he has shown enough to get drafted and be a slot receiver like Cobb.
      Has a family which will be the main factor.